Su-24/Mig-27 in the 1970s /80s and escort fighters

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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nastle

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Unread post15 Apr 2020, 14:47

As we all know Su-24/Mig-27 were the primary strike assets of VVS from the mid-70s to 1990

They would have been deployed in a variety of roles but given they carried large external tanks and later had inflight refuelling their targets must have well outside the range of most if not all VVS Mig-23/29 fighters.

And the Su-27 did not enter service with VVS in substantial numbers until 1988

SO my question is were the Su-24s /Mig-27 from 1976-88 expected to perform most of their missions unescorted ? if so was this not suicidal considering NATO had F-15s in place and hundreds of F-16s not to mention F-4s?

What was the primary means of survival for these su-24s /Mig-27 ? it surely cannot be their self defence cannons and 2 x R-60

Did they have onboard jammers ,chaff/flare ?

Could the Su24/Mig-27 escape from the F-4/Mirage III/F-104 at low level ?

What kind of attrition rates were they expected to sustain ?
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basher54321

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Unread post15 Apr 2020, 19:24

How they are used would be entirely based on mission and the circumstances - needless to say expect it would have been very different from how they were used in Afghanistan.

Expected losses in Cold War gone hot = Very high for everybody x 2

Primary means of survival would be not getting detected in the first place like any strike aircraft. They would want to be under Radar ideally. The VVS would want to take out any AWACs as priority.

MiG-27 (Russian) - jammers / RWR / expendables = yes, IFR = no.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 12:05

I think the air defences in West Germany were really dangerous for the Soviet/Warpac aircraft. There were a lot of I-Hawk batteries, Rolands and Gepard SPAAGs along with Stingers and even Nike Hercules for high altitude defence. I think it was mid-1980s when first Patriots were also stationed to West Germany and late 1980s became operational with the German army. Of course there were also some other systems used by different countries there and in the neigboring countries.

I think the Soviets would not really try to escort their fighter-bombers but would probably use their fighters very defensively. They might selectively try to deny or weaken NATO air superiority before and during some attack runs but I don't think they really had fighter aircraft that could escort their fighter-bombers. MIG-23 would've likely had a lot of trouble against F-15s and even F-4s. Same with MiG-21s and they additionally had very poor range for anything but point defence. MIG-25s were not very numerous and were reserved for use against Blackbirds. MiG-29 would not change the situation that much during late 1980s, although would've naturally be more dangerous.

I think Soviet fighter-bombers were getting pretty good during their time. They did have pretty good systems, weapons and performance for their time. They did have wide selection of precision guided weapons (both missiles and bombs) and multiple diffent ARMs. They also really liked rockets in their attack aircraft with multile different sized rockets being used. I think they would've inflicted a lot of damage early on, but their attrition would've been extremely high. Of course attrition on both sides would've been high.
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nastle

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 13:27

hornetfinn wrote:
I think the Soviets would not really try to escort their fighter-bombers but would probably use their fighters very defensively. They might selectively try to deny or weaken NATO air superiority before and during some attack runs but I don't think they really had fighter aircraft that could escort their fighter-bombers.

. I think they would've inflicted a lot of damage early on, but their attrition would've been extremely high. Of course attrition on both sides would've been high.


why would the NATO aircraft attrition be high?

Would any soviet strike planes be able to get past the NATO interceptors ? if so why, NATO interceptors were pretty numerous too and soviets only had about 1100 PGM equipped strike aircraft in the mid-80s so they were not so plentiful to be expended aimlessly in attacks against NATO
Did they have any realistic chance of getting to NATO airbases ?


Primary means of survival would be not getting detected in the first place like any strike aircraft. They would want to be under Radar ideally. The VVS would want to take out any AWACs as priority.

easier said than done the AWACS are likely to deep inside NATO airspace and well defended, how will the WP fighters get to them ?
Can the Anti-radiation missiles be used as an AAM against AWACS ?
I'm thinking like the AS-9 Kyle, AS-12 Kaegler AS_11 kilter [ NATO names]
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mixelflick

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 13:44

Given both airframes took advantage of variable geometry designs, speed down low would have been their first line of defense. I'm not sure how good the terrain following radar was in the Mig-27, but I have to assume it was up to the job in the SU-24. And given their range (in particular, the SU-24) it's doubtful any escorting Soviet fighter could have provided top cover, at least for the duration of the mission. Certainly not the Mig-21 or 29. The Mig-23 possibly, but then again carrying drop tanks its going to cut down on its normal compliment of air to air missiles. Mig-31 would have certainly been up to the job, but most of those would be needed for homeland defense.

Not until the arrival of the Flanker did they have an aircraft that could escort these tactical bombers deep into enemy airspace. In many ways, it was a pivotal design and Mig's design bureau never really recovered. To this day, the Russian air force is knee deep in Flankers, with only token numbers of Mig-35's serving alongside them.
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basher54321

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 14:21

nastle wrote:easier said than done the AWACS are likely to deep inside NATO airspace and well defended, how will the WP fighters get to them ?
Can the Anti-radiation missiles be used as an AAM against AWACS ?




Cold War gone hot also means use of tactical Nukes at some point so you probably need to define your parameters here. even without Nukes attrition would have been expected to be be very high on both sides.

See Fulcrum (Zuyev, A) they (VVS) used to practice taking down AWACs and there were no doubt various ways they could pull it off depending. This is a tactical problem not something that can be equated to an individual airframe as such. So they might have succeeded in some attempts and failed at others.

A MiG-27 with wings swept back along the deck would be a very difficult target with small RCS to detect or even target with those radars. Then add in countermeasures, the massive confusion from the many things happening on the battlefield and yes getting to a NATO base would be very possible (if in range) . Short range defenses while it was over the target would be where it would be taken down if they were alert but no guarantee.

ARMs hitting moving targets in the 1980s = unlikley - evidence suggests they had enough problems with static targets.
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nastle

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 14:55

basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:
See Fulcrum (Zuyev, A) they (VVS) used to practice taking down AWACs and there were no doubt various ways they could pull it off depending. This is a tactical problem not something that can be equated to an individual airframe as such. So they might have succeeded in some attempts and failed at others.

A MiG-27 with wings swept back along the deck would be a very difficult target with small RCS to detect or even target with those radars. Then add in countermeasures, the massive confusion from the many things happening on the battlefield and yes getting to a NATO base would be very possible (if in range) .

ARMs hitting moving targets in the 1980s = unlikley - evidence suggests they had enough problems with static targets.


Thanks I have not read that book , do you have any idea if the AN/APQ-120 radar of F-4E was able to operate in a true lookdown /shoot down mode like that of F-15s ?
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f-16adf

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 17:53

The original F-4E APQ-120 was to have a "look down" capability called CORDS. It was subsequently dropped. And the APQ-120 remained a "Pulse " only set.

About it here:

F-4E APQ-120.jpg





The only Phantoms with a "Pulse Doppler" look down shoot down capability were the AWG-10 on the F-4J, AWG-10B (improved) on the F-4S,and the RAF Phantoms AWG-11/12. As far as it presenting a "clear" picture on the scope, I really don't know. It probably filtered out the ground clutter substantially as compared to the earlier F-4 Pulse radars. But I doubt it would give you a completely "clear" type presentation like the F-15's unit.

Here is the Radar scope of the F-4S from the front seat. The RIO would not allow anyone in the back, and his cockpit remained closed.

F-4S Front.jpg




Additionally, part of the problem was the AIM-7E not being the ideal AAM for LD/SD. The AIM-7F was a vast improvement over it as was the Skyflash.



Interesting video on the F-4J/AWG-10 radar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkRpqGTeDLE
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basher54321

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 18:14

nastle wrote:Thanks I have not read that book , do you have any idea if the AN/APQ-120 radar of F-4E was able to operate in a true lookdown /shoot down mode like that of F-15s ?


Sniped it seems :D - but yes as above only aware of it being a Pulse radar to the best of my knowledge and never had any actual look down modes - certainly nothing on the lines of the F-15/16 - that not only replaced the F-4D/E but had newer generation radars (Digital).

Not certain if it was ever upgraded to have such a capability - you will see that Japan had replaced APQ-120 with the F-16AB radar by the early 1990s, and Germany replaced theirs with the FA-18 radar. The F-4G might have had changes but no idea what.
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Tiger05

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 20:42

mixelflick wrote:Given both airframes took advantage of variable geometry designs, speed down low would have been their first line of defense. I'm not sure how good the terrain following radar was in the Mig-27, but I have to assume it was up to the job in the SU-24.


The MiG-27 had no TFR. In fact it had no radar at all, only a laser rangefinder/target designator in the nose.
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basher54321

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 22:00

Tiger05 wrote:The MiG-27 had no TFR. In fact it had no radar at all, only a laser rangefinder/target designator in the nose.


No typical FCR or TFR yes however technically radar was part of their Nav/Attack suites.
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mixelflick

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 17:24

Heard an interesting pilot interview about the Phantom, in particular F-4D vs. E for dogfighting.

He claimed that the F-4D was far superior, given the weight of the gun in the E model really worked against it. I found that an interesting perspective, especially given the missiles of the day (prior to the AIM-7F) were quite unreliable. I guess he found the reliability of the AIM-9 adequate, as that would be the only other weapon the Phantom carried.

Still, I'd take an F-4E any day over an SU-24/Mig-27 to take into combat. I'd even take it over a Mig-21 or 23. Would be scared as hell to go up against the Mig-25PD though. Properly flown (slashing attacks), it would dictate the terms of engaging/disengaging and the AA-6 was effective enough (shot down Speicher's F/A-18) first night of the gulf war.
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basher54321

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 18:25

mixelflick wrote:I guess he found the reliability of the AIM-9 adequate, as that would be the only other weapon the Phantom carried.



Some USAF squadrons used gun pods in Nam for the F-4CD.

The F-4M was used as a low level interceptor over Germany in the 1980s and the SUU-23 gun pod was pretty much a permanent fixture.
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outlaw162

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 21:14

I've had a couple of occasions to BFM with E models in the D model. Both hard wing E (Turkish 111 Filo out of Eskeshir) and USAF/ANG slatted E.

The hard wing E and D were virtually the same aircraft in a scissors.

In a scissors, the slatted E would gradually gain nose-tail advantage, but the D would gradually gain vertical separation, eventually enough before the E could point the gun to gingerly roll back down and start the whole process again, also virtually a stalemate.

An F-4 is an F-4, although from what I saw the Marine Reserve slatted Js with the big smokeless engines had both turn and vertical advantage over the D....so you didn't get slow with 'em.....'course they didn't carry a gun. :mrgreen:

BTW there was an ex F-100 driver, "Big D Simmonds", who got two MiG-17 kills in a F-4D with a SUU-23 on the same mission.

SUU-23 was not a bad weapon, once you determined where it was aimed. Just a little extra drag.
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nastle

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 22:59

mixelflick wrote:
Still, I'd take an F-4E any day over an SU-24/Mig-27 to take into combat. .

ofcourse F-4E is a great fighter and su24/mig27 are frontline bombers
question was not a 1 v 1 jousting match but if you are a VVS strike fighter pilot what would you rely on to evade enemy defences inc interceptors esp AVOID fighters ? still strike your objective and then retreat back to your base to rinse lather repeat
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